How to Create the Ideal Health Care Organization: Start with Questions!

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We’ve done a series on the characteristics of the ideal organization.  From various sources, we gradually assembled a list of fifty-one characteristics.  We then condensed these into ten key attributes.  So, now that we know what is needed, how do we get there? How can we each help make our health organization an ideal one?

Now, perhaps you are thinking, wait a minute – ideal organization? Isn’t that a bit much? Has there ever really been an ideal organization (outside of Scientology, maybe)? So isn’t taking that as an aim downright self-defeating?  But wait, maybe we need a different set of questions to guide us.

Well, it could be stated that HCAHPS does this: patients are asked to compare the hospital they were in to the “best possible hospital”.  And it has been said that ideals “power growth and profit at the world’s greatest companies.”   Maybe ideals can be useful to power safe, quality care and rewarding careers.

Yet if “ideal” seems too much, how about making your organization “great”.  Great organizations are much in demand, and Peter Block once noted, “Why do anything unless it’s going to be great?”

Admittedly, great may be a stretch in some places.  I remember a consultant saying “we should aim at mediocrity because that would be an improvement”.  Maybe we can all agree that all organizations could be better?

Our healthcare system has been “officially” declared to be a “mess”.   It is in “crisis”.  It is failing. It must be reformed.  Everyone seems agreed on that. But how to improve it?

The first step in becoming better is to question what presently exists.  Questions can be a way to learn and to educate.

We proposed a set of questions for that purpose.  If you are a CEO or similar leader, you can pose questions via an organizational survey .  If you are a unit manager or the like, you can use discussion questions at meetings.


But even if you have no formal mandate, let’s not forget that everyone can demonstrate leadership.  If you want to see your organization become better, great or even ideal, begin by asking the people there – patients, doctors, nurses, attendants, chaplains, visitors and everyone else – how they see things.

The first question on our list can serve as an example and as a “homework” assignment.  Whatever your role in the health care organization, as you go through your day, keep asking people, “Are we providing patients with all and the right kind of healthcare they need?”  If you are sufficiently scientific minded, you may want to actually write the responses down, but you don’t have to.

What answers do you get?  What thoughts do these inspire these in you? What kinds of discussion resulted? What was learned and what new aspirations arose?

Send us your report and results.  Together, we can improve the system.  If  everyone does something, something will happen.

Jim murphyJim Murphy has a solo consulting practice called Management 3000, focusing on organizational development and change management. Formerly he led the Massachusetts Bay Organizational Development Learning Group, was Human Resources Director for the City of Boston Assessing Department, and served as a consultant with the Boston Management Consortium.  His consulting practice includes management coaching as well as research and writing on employee relationships, leadership, healthcare and collaborative practices.  Having produced newsletters for several organizations  and being a frequent content writer for the”Confident Voices in Healthcare” blog, he is interested in writing and research opportunities, as we all consulting and coaching.



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4 Responses to How to Create the Ideal Health Care Organization: Start with Questions!

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